Meeting Report

The MENOG 16 / RIPE NCC Regional Meeting was held from 23-24 March 2016 at the Hilton Istanbul Bomonti Hotel and Conference Centre in Istanbul, Turkey. A total of 150 people from 15 countries attended the meeting.

The meeting was hosted by DE-CIX and NIC.TR and sponsored by the RIPE NCC, the Internet Society, A10, V4Escrow, Zenium Technology, NL-ix, Telecom Italia Sparkle, France IX, ICANN, Packet Clearing House and with as media partner.

The meeting was opened by MENOG PC Chair Khalid Samara, who thanked attendees for the effort they had made to visit Istanbul for the meeting. In his welcome as one of the hosts of the meeting, Dr Attila Ozgit from NIC.TR provided some detail on the recent DDoS attack against their TLD, which peaked at 20 Gbps of incoming traffic. The opening keynote of the meeting was given by Hakan Akan from Telkoder, which is the association of telecommunications operators in Turkey. He gave an overview of the association’s efforts in terms of legislation and working groups focusing on specific issues and innovations.

The first plenary session was focused on obtaining and protecting Internet number resources. In his presentation, Elvis Velea from V4Escrow presented statistics from his perspective as an IPv4 broker, noting his concern that increasingly futures contracts were being used for resource transfers in other RIR service regions, which meant that holdership changes were not being reflected in the RIR registries. He believed that the RIPE community’s decision to adopt a less-restrictive transfer policy was the reason this practice wasn’t happening here.

The first session of the second day began with presentations on the domain name industry in the Middle East. Fadh Batayneh from ICANN shared the results of their study that found (among other things) that only 5% of popular sites in the Middle East were hosted locally and there was weak competition among local registrars, which led to poor outcomes for End Users. A presentation by Jim Cowie from DeepMacro made the point that a lack of local hosting was hurting the region economically and also in terms of Internet performance. He drew a number of interesting correlations between economic and Internet factors – such as comparing GDP to the number of cross-border connections or ASNs within a country.

Security was a pertinent topic, with an overview of DDoS attacks given by Khaled Fadda from Arbor, who highlighted that attacks were growing both in severity and frequency. He noted that DDoS attacks were now being offered over the Internet as a service for relatively low prices. Following Khaled’s presentation, Kaveh Ranjbar from the RIPE NCC asked attendees to ensure they had implemented BCP-38 on their networks, which could prevent address spoofing being used for DNS amplification attacks.

Also in the realm of security was a presentation by Mohamad Amin Hasbini from Kaspersky Lab on the use of cyber-weapons (APTs) in the Middle East. He noted that increasingly Internet service providers were being used as attack vectors to gain intelligence from government institutions. He said it was nation states rather than criminals that were behind these attacks.

Building and growing IXPs in the Middle East was a big topic at the meeting, which was addressed in two separate sessions. Marco Brandstaetter from UAE-IX presented on how to build a successful IXP in the Middle East, pointing out that key success factors were support in building a community, a willingness to help peers with non peering-related tasks, and help to make peering a valid business case. He finished by talking about DE-CIX Istanbul, which had launched in October 2015 and had eight peers connected with more to come.

Giuseppe Valentino from Sparkle presented on IP gravity dynamics in regional hubs, using the Sicily hub as an example. He noted that the Middle East region had a rich ecosystem of submarine cables that made several areas ideal locations from which to grow a hub.

Timothy Denton, Hurricane Electric, gave a prescription for getting an IXP off the ground – suggesting ways to promote an IXP to attract networks to peer there, and identifying things to look for when choosing a location – such as friendly customs that would not interfere with the shipping of equipment for use in an IXP.

Nishal Goburdhan from Packet Clearing House talked about securing the resilience of a country’s Internet. He identified a number of key factors such as having a ccTLD that was managed within the country with at least one server housed within that country’s borders and under local jurisdiction. Other factors included IXPs within the country’s borders (preferably one per major city), competing neutral data carriers, and CERT coordination between government and industry.

There were also three attendees from the RIPE Academic Cooperation Initiative (RACI) at the meeting, who presented their research to the MENOG community. Abdulsalam Alkholidi from Sana’a University presented on Yemen’s progress transitioning to IPv6, noting that Yemen Net had needed to purchase IPv4 addresses from the transfer market to continue its growth, which lent some urgency to the transition. He said they intended to increase their cooperation with the RIPE NCC and to create a training centre to train Yemeni engineers in IPv6. Mariam Moustafa from the University of Alexandria presented on a multipath secure routing protocol for wireless sensor networks and Sara Bakkali from Mohammed V University in Morocco presented on management of inter-domain quality of service.

In the closing remarks, an audience member said they had enjoyed the tutorial for IXPs that was held ahead of the meeting. He suggested they could schedule a one-day session before the next MENOG meeting specifically for IXPs to share information. He said the day could be divided into half a day for decision makers, and half a day for technical staff. Another audience member suggested they include training ahead of the meeting for people who were running IXPs.

Wrapping up the meeting, Chafic Chaya from the RIPE NCC said they would be announcing the meeting location for the next MENOG meeting as soon as possible. He thanked the hosts and sponsors for their support in making MENOG 16 a success.

The meeting presentations were given in English and on-site translation facilities were provided to attendees. The presentations are available in the meeting archives. Session videos are available on the MENOG YouTube Channel.

The RIPE NCC has requested feedback from attendees on how it can improve future meetings. Feedback can be given through an online survey.